Cultural depictions of Margaret Thatcher

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A statue of Margaret Thatcher on the "Liberty Walk" on the campus of Hillsdale College. It is the only statue of Thatcher in North America.

Margaret Thatcher was a British stateswoman who was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990. She has been both positively and negatively portrayed in the arts and popular culture.[1] In the words of one critic she attracted "musical opprobrium like no other British political leader".[2][3] Such opinion is divergent from mainstream opinion polling which tends to place her as the most popular British prime minister since Winston Churchill.[4][1]

Theatre critic Michael Billington notes: "Thatcher may not have cared passionately about the arts, but she left her emphatic mark upon them."[5]

This page is a list of depictions of Thatcher on stage, in film, TV, radio, literature, music and in other forms of the arts and entertainment.


Television drama[edit]


  • Margaret Thatcher Queen of Soho (2013–present) – A drag comedy musical play imagining what life would have been like if Thatcher had got lost in Soho on the eve of the vote for Section 28. It was performed in December 2013 at Theatre503 in London, in August 2014 at the Edinburgh Fringe and is transferring to London once again in March 2015 at the Leicester Square Theatre.[6]
  • The Audience (2013) – played in the premiere production by Haydn Gwynne
  • Handbagged (2010) – A play shown at the Tricycle Theatre in London as part of its Women, Power and Politics festival. Handbagged examined the relationship between Thatcher and the Queen. The younger Thatcher was portrayed by Claire Cox and the elder by Stella Gonet. Handbagged was later expanded by its writer Moira Buffini and presented as a full play at the Tricycle in late 2013. The director was Indhu Rubasingham.
  • The Death of Margaret Thatcher (2008) – coffin is onstage throughout the play, dealing with the differing reactions of the cast towards her death
  • Market Boy (2006) – Set in a marketplace in 1980s Romford, a character called "Posh Lady" is meant to resemble Thatcher. When the play debuted at the National Theatre in London, she was played by Nicola Blackwell.
  • Thatcher – The Musical! (c. 2006)
  • Billy Elliot the Musical (2005) – contains the irreverent song "Merry Christmas Maggie Thatcher" by Elton John
  • Little Madam – a play by James Graham, exploring the life and career of Thatcher, presented at Finborough Theatre, London
  • Sink the Belgrano! (1986) – a vitriolic satirical play by Steven Berkoff, in which she is called "Maggot Scratcher"





While in power, Thatcher was the subject of several songs which opposed her government, including The Beat's "Stand Down Margaret",[12] as well as a sarcastic declaration of faux adoration (Notsensibles' "I'm in Love with Margaret Thatcher"). After she left government, several offensive songs called for her death or looked forward to celebration of her death,[1] including Morrissey's "Margaret on the Guillotine" ("The kind people have a wonderful dream, Margaret on the guillotine"), Elvis Costello's "Tramp the Dirt Down" ("I'll stand on your grave and tramp the dirt down"), Hefner's "The Day That Thatcher Dies" ("We will dance and sing all night") and Pete Wylie's "The Day That Margaret Thatcher Dies" ("She's gone!, And nobody cries").[13]

Songs with Thatcher as the subject include:

Roger Waters in 1983 referred to Thatcher sarcastically as "Maggie" multiple times throughout the Pink Floyd album The Final Cut. In the song The Fletcher Memorial Home Waters calls "Maggie" an overgrown infant and an incurable tyrant. At the end of the song he quietly speaks of applying the Final Solution to her and other famous world leaders.[18][19][20] The band Genesis in 1986 utilised a puppet representing her (as well as other politicians) in the music video Land of Confusion from the album Invisible Touch.[21]

British indie band Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine depicted Thatcher on the sleeve of their 1995 single "The Young Offender's Mum".[22]

Protest songs[edit]

During her political career, Margaret Thatcher was the subject or the inspiration for several protest songs. Paul Weller was a founding member of Red Wedge collective, which unsuccessfully sought to oust Thatcher with the help of music. In 1987, they organised a comedy tour with British comedians Lenny Henry, Ben Elton, Robbie Coltrane, Harry Enfield and others.[23]


Less than two months after Thatcher resigned, musical acid house group V.I.M. released a rave track entitled "Maggie's Last Party".[24] Described by critic Jon Chapple as "strikingly original, and catchy to the point of irritation", the track was a "fusion" of Thatcher's "uncompromising speeches with a slowly-evolving post-acid house backing";[25] it reached #68 on the UK Singles Chart in January 1991.[26] The track had proved popular with many nightclubs at the time,[citation needed] despite the mixed view of Thatcher among the rave community.[27]


Thatcher's wax figure at Madame Tussauds with Ronald Reagan (left) and Mikhail Gorbachev (right)
The Spitting Image puppet of Margaret Thatcher on display in Grantham

Notable works include:

  • Statue of Margaret Thatcher (1998) – a marble statue installed at Guildhall Art Gallery. The two-ton statue was decapitated in 2002 by a protester.[28]
  • Statue of Margaret Thatcher (2007) – a bronze statue. The statue has been erected inside the House of Commons. It shows her with her arm outstretched and posed as if addressing the House.[29]
  • Maggie (2009) by Marcus Harvey – a black-and-white portrait composed of over 15,000 casts of sculptural objects including vegetables, dildos, masks and skulls. The work weighs over a ton.[30]
  • In the Sleep of Reason by Mark Wallinger – a video piece taken from Thatcher's 1982 Falklands speech and edited to show only each blink, thus giving the appearance that her eyes are constantly shut.[31]

Thatcher was seen as a "gift" by political cartoonists. Among the most memorable images are Gerald Scarfe's provocative "scythe-like" caricatures, some of which were exhibited in his 2005 show "Milk Snatcher, Gerald Scarfe – The Thatcher Drawings".[32]

Maggie's Club[edit]

On Fulham Road in Chelsea, London, there is a 1980s-themed late-night bar dedicated to Thatcher called Maggie's Club.[33][34][35]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Everett-Green, Robert (8 April 2013). "Margaret Thatcher in pop culture: A Scrooge with all the power and no midnight conversion". The Globe and Mail. 
  2. ^ Sweeney, Ken (9 April 2013). "Everyone cheered when she quit". Evening Herald. Dublin. 
  3. ^ Music Blog (8 April 2013). "Five songs about Margaret Thatcher". The Guardian. 
  4. ^ "YouGov / Sunday Times Survey Results" (PDF). YouGov. 
  5. ^ Billington, Michael (8 April 2013). "Margaret Thatcher casts a long shadow over theatre and the arts". The Guardian. 
  6. ^ Ticketsolve - Leicester Square Theatre
  7. ^ "Doctor Who Classic Episode Guide – The Happiness Guide – Details". BBC News. Retrieved 1 August 2016. 
  8. ^ Derek B. Scott (2016). The Ashgate Research Companion to Popular Musicology. Routledge. p. 108. ISBN 978-1-317-04197-9. 
  9. ^ History of Punk – Saturday Night Live on YouTube
  10. ^ Mantel, Hilary (19 September 2014). "Hilary Mantel: The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher – August 6th 1983". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 August 2016. 
  11. ^ Reynolds, Gillian (30 November 2009). "A Family Affair (Radio 4): a Lovable, impossible and ingenious portrait of Mrs T – review". The Daily Telegraph. London. 
  12. ^ a b c Eggers, Dave (2004) "And Now, a Less Informed Opinion", Spin, October 2004, p. 66-8
  13. ^ a b c Shennan, Paddy (24 September 2008). "Why the hatchets are out for an old enemy". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 28 March 2012. 
  14. ^ "Paul's Song Rips Thatcher", Chicago Sun-Times, 27 November 1990, p. 20
  15. ^ Goddard, Simon (2009) Mozipedia, Ebury Press, ISBN 978-0091927097, p. 249
  16. ^ Gundersen, Edna (16 April 2013). "I'm There song reissue mocks Margaret Thatcher on day of funeral". USA Today. Retrieved 25 April 2013. 
  17. ^ Lewis, Randy (16 April 2013). "Album skewering Margaret Thatcher to be reissued on April 17". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 25 April 2013. 
  18. ^ "Pink Floyd – The Fletcher Memorial Home". SongMeanings. 
  19. ^ "Canzoni contro la guerra - The Fletcher Memorial Home". Antiwar Songs (AWS) (in Italian). Retrieved 25 June 2012. 
  20. ^ Library of Congress LCCN: The final cut. Pink Floyd. LC control no. 93711744. Music Sound Recording. Publisher no. QC38243 Columbia. Rock music—1981–1990.[1].
  21. ^ Library of Congress LCCN: Invisible touch. Genesis. LC control no. 91758551. Music Sound Recording. Publisher no. 81641-1-E Atlantic/7 81641-1-E Atlantic. Rock music—1981–1990.[2].
  22. ^ Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine - The Young Offender's Mum (CD) at Discogs
  23. ^ Heard, Chris (4 May 2004). "Rocking against Thatcher". BBC News. 
  24. ^ "V.I.M.- Maggie's Last Party (Radio Mix)". SoundCloud. Retrieved 12 October 2016. 
  25. ^ Chapple, Jon (13 January 2011). "V.I.M. - Maggie's Last Party (1991)". PopMatters. Retrieved 12 October 2016. 
  26. ^ "V.I.M. | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Retrieved 12 October 2016. 
  27. ^ Holden, Michael (9 April 2013). "Thatcher's War on Acid House". Vice. Retrieved 14 October 2016. 
  28. ^ "Thatcher statue decapitated". The Guardian. 
  29. ^ ""Iron Lady" unveils her bronze statue". Reuters. 21 February 2007. Retrieved 10 August 2017. 
  30. ^ "A Contemporary Portrait Of Margaret Thatcher By Marcus Harvey". Artlyst. 
  31. ^ Freeman, Hadley (16 April 2003). "I wanted to invade her privacy". The Guardian. 
  32. ^ Kinghorn, Kristie (14 March 2015). "Gerald Scarfe's controversial Margaret Thatcher cartoons on show". BBC News. 
  33. ^ "Maggie's Club". Retrieved 27 May 2017. 
  34. ^ Kingsley, Patrick (22 November 2010). "Maggie's nightclub – the ultimate tribute to Thatcher". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 May 2017. 
  35. ^ Chadwick, Jonny (31 January 2014). "I Went To Maggie's Club, London's Thatcher-Worship Club Night". Vice. Retrieved 27 May 2017. 

External links[edit]